What is geographical discrimination?

Geographical discrimination

Geographical discrimination is a type of discrimination based on someone’s location or country of origin. Geographical discrimination can take many forms and oftentimes involves a candidate or employee being excluded, denied opportunities, or treated unfairly because of region or location-based factors.

Geographical discrimination can be based on racial, regional, or even country-specific prejudices and stereotypes. It can also be based on convenience factors.

While acts of geographical discrimination are often committed against employees from a different country, discrimination based on a person’s region of origin or location is also common.

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Examples of geographical discrimination

For example, two employees are in the running for a promotion and the hiring manager shares her reasons for choosing one candidate over the other. “They’re both qualified but I rejected candidate A because they’re from a small town. They just have that small-town vibe and I think Candidate B is just a better cultural fit.”

Based on the hiring manager’s own statement, Candidate A has been denied an opportunity because of where they are from and a perceived lack of “cultural fit”—despite being qualified for the position.

Geographical discrimination can also be based on factors like commutes. An employer may decide that a candidate with a shorter commute is better for a role because of their proximity to the workplace.

Is geographical discrimination legal?

There are very few laws protecting employees and candidates against geographical discrimination. A person’s location or origin is not a protected class like race or religion. From an ethical standpoint, employers and managers should endeavor to treat employees the same no matter their location or geographical origin.

Disclaimer: This article and all information in it is provided for general informational purposes only. It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or tax advice. You should consult with a qualified legal or tax professional for advice regarding any legal or tax matter and prior to acting (or refraining from acting) on the basis of any information provided on this website.

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